Upgrade or Migrate to Joomla 4.x!

Joomla 4.x was released on 17th August 2021 followed by a security update and several bug fixes.

New Joomla 4.x Features

Some of the new features included in Joomla 4.x are:

  • improved install process
  • new accessible backend and frontend templates
  • Bootstrap 5 integration
  • new media manager
  • new publishing workflow
  • new web services
  • improved security features
  • new HTML email templates
  • improved and expanded Command Line Interface (CLI)
  • cleaner and more powerful codebase

It's Safe to Migrate or Upgrade to Joomla 4.x Now

Assuming all your favourite extensions are Joomla 4.x ready, now is a good time to upgrade from Joomla 3.x.

I have already updated my business website to Joomla 4.x and have completed some Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x updates for clients.

Using a template with Joomla 3.x and Joomla 4.x versions (such as JoomShaper Helix Ultimate) simplifies the update process considerably.

Joomla 4 Performance

As per, "The new metrics for web performance" by Patrick Jackson, Joomla 4 performs phenominally well. Joomla 4 has been optimised for performance and it scores well in various test tools including Google Lighthouse and GTMetrix.

GTMetrix Score - November 2021

Goodbye Gantry 4

Many of the websites I developed over the last 10 years were built with or were upgraded to the Gantry 4 Framework by RocketTheme. Gantry 4 was a great choice for Joomla 2.5 website owners as Gantry 4 made the transition from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x easy.

Unfortunately, there will be no Gantry 4 version for Joomla 4 and website owners currently on Gantry 4 will need to upgrade to Gantry 5 or choose a new template.

Gantry 5 is quite different to Gantry 4 and my current preference is to build websites with and to migrate websites to the JoomShaper Helix Ultimate template and framework. Helix Ultimate has all the great features that Gantry 4 has plus much more such as multiple Google Fonts, more control over styling and layout and more control over inserting custom code. The default Helix Ultimate template is free. JoomShaper have a large user base which hopefully means that Helix Ultimate will continue to be developed and supported for a long time into the future.

Joomla 3.x Support

Joomla 3.x will be supported for two years after the Joomla 4.x release so Joomla 3.x website owners should plan to update to Joomla 4.x by August 2023. This gives Joomla website owners plenty of time. Joomla 3.x websites will, of course, still operate after August 2023 but may be more vulnerable to hackers.

Joomla extension developers are now starting to focus on the Joomla 4 versions of their extensions. The Joomla 3 versions of their extensions will still be supported for a while but new functionality might only be implemented in the Joomla 4 versions of their extensions. This is already happening with at least one extension, Regular Labs Articles Anywhere, where the developer has taken the opportunity to rewrite the Joomla 4 version with many new features which will not be added to the Joomla 3 version.

Happy updating / migrating!

Migrate My Joomla Website

Migrate from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 3.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x migration typically takes at least five hours and costs from around $450.

Contact me for a quote.

Migrate from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 3.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x migration migration typically takes at least three hours and costs from around $250.

Contact me for a quote.

Migrate from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 4.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x migration migration typically takes at least three hours and costs from around $250.

Contact me for a quote.

Tasmanian Government Tourism Industry Market Support Program

Tasmanian Government Logo.png

As part of an economic stimulus programme in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism related businesses in Tasmania such as visitor attractions, accommodation providers and tour operators may be eligible for the latest grant via the Tourism Industry Market Support Program.

There are two grants available:

  1. up to $1000 as a one off marketing support grant
  2. up to $2500 available on a dollar for dollar matched basis as a one off marketing support grant

The grants support one or more of the following marketing activities:

  • Brochure and or website inclusion
  • Online travel agent or wholesaler program
  • Print advertising

It seems like the grants could be used to revamp your current website in preparation for the borders re-opening.

The application process is fairly straightforward but you'll need a quote from your web provider so please let me know if I can help.

For more details including the full eligibility requirements, go to: https://www.business.tas.gov.au/covid-19_business_support_packages/tourism_industry_market_support_program

Note that grants are assessed on a first submitted, first assessed basis, until the program closes on 30th October 2020 or funding is exhausted whichever occurs first.

Joomla On-site SEO in 7 Easy Steps

To complete on-site search engine optimisation adequately on a Joomla website, the following items need to be set up:

  1. search engine friendly urls
  2. a global meta description
  3. a suitable robots.txt file
  4. a unique page title for each page
  5. a unique H1 heading for each page
  6. a unique meta description for each page
  7. a sitemap submitted to Google Search Console

Fortunately, Joomla can do all of the essential steps (1 to 6 below) out of the box without the need for any third party extensions.

1. Search Engine Friendly URLs

Using the File Manager in cPanel or an FTP client or similar, rename the htaccess.txt file in the root folder of the website to .htaccess.

Joomla SEO Settings Log in to the back-end of the Joomla website with an administrator account and go to System → Global Configuration → Site.

Configure the SEO Settings as follows:

  • Search Engine Friendly URLs = Yes
  • Use URL Rewriting = Yes
  • Add Suffix to URL = No
  • Unicode Aliases = No (usually)
  • Site Name in Page Titles = No

2. Global Meta Description

Log in to the back-end of the Joomla website with an administrator account and go to System → Global Configuration → Site.

Add a Site Meta Description.

The Site Meta Description is included on pages where no meta description is found for the article, category or menu item.

I don't usually worry about Meta Keywords any more as these are ignored by Google.

Global Meta Description for Joomla SEO Settings

3. robots.txt

The default robots.txt file in Joomla does not allow access for search engines to all the required CSS and JavaScript files. Google (for example) needs access to CSS and JavaScript files to check whether the website works well responsively or not.

I recommend the following customised robots.txt file for Joomla 3.x websites:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /administrator/
Disallow: /bin/
Disallow: /cache/
Disallow: /cli/
Allow: /components/*.css
Allow: /components/*.js
Disallow: /components/
Allow: /includes/*.css
Allow: /includes/*.js
Disallow: /includes/
Disallow: /installation/
Disallow: /language/
Allow: /layouts/*.css
Allow: /layouts/*.js
Disallow: /layouts/
Allow: /libraries/*.css
Allow: /libraries/*.js
Disallow: /libraries/
Disallow: /logs/
Allow: /modules/*.css
Allow: /modules/*.js
Disallow: /modules/
Allow: /plugins/*.css
Allow: /plugins/*.js
Disallow: /plugins/
Disallow: /tmp/

The robots.txt file is located in the root folder of the website and can be updated via the File Manager in cPanel or an FTP client or similar.

4. Page Titles

Enter a unique page title for each page.

The best practice for page titles is human readable text, up to around 65 characters, on one line, including keywords, branding and localisation with the main keywords first unless the brand is recognisable and in this case the brand should go first.

I tend to enter page titles in the menu option as H1 Headings and Meta Descriptions can also be entered here at the same time.

Page Title Settings for Joomla SEO

5. H1 Headings

Enter a unique H1 Heading for each page. There should be exactly one H1 Heading on each page and this can be supplemented with H2 and H3 headings if needed.

The best practice for H1 Headings is human readable text, 20 to 70 characters, on one line at the start of the article before any H2 or H3 etc headings and with the main keywords first.

I tend to enter H1 Headings in the menu option as Page Titles and Meta Descriptions can also be entered here at the same time. I am assuming that the Joomla Template displays the page heading as a H1 heading but this is template dependent and not always the case.

Note that blog articles don't necessarily have their own menu option and in this case, the H1 Heading can be enabled in the article.

H1 Heading settings for Joomla SEO

6. Meta Descriptions

Enter a unique Meta Description for each page.

The best practice for Meta Descriptions is human readable text, 155 to 160 characters, on one line including keywords, branding and localisation and with the main keywords first.

I tend to enter Meta Descriptions in the menu option as Page Titles and H1 Headings can also be entered here at the same time.

Note that blog articles don't necessarily have their own menu option and in this case, the Meta Description can be entered in the article.

I don't usually worry about Meta Keywords any more as these are ignored by Google.

Meta Description settings for Joomla SEO

7. SiteMap and Google Search Console

Ideally, a Sitemap should be created and submitted to Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools).

This makes it easier for Google to crawl your website and to make sure that all pages are being crawled and indexed.

Google also then has a way to notify you about any problems with the website such as crawl errors.

Creating a Google Search Console account is free and easy to do.

PHP 5.6 End of Life Implications for Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5

PHP Logo

There will be no more security updates for PHP 5.6 after 31st December 2018.

Recommended Version of PHP for Joomla 3.x Websites

Joomla websites already running on Joomla 3.x should have their hosting updated to PHP 7.2 if it isn't already. (Security support for PHP 7.1 ends on 3rd December 2018).

PHP 5.6 End of Life Options for Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 Websites

Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 are not compatible with PHP 7. As hosting providers drop support for PHP 5, Joomla 1.5 and 2.5 will cease to function. It's not clear exactly when this will happen and it might depend on the timing and severity of security vulnerabilities discovered after security support for Joomla 5.6 ends at the end of 2018.

When your hosting company announces they are dropping support for PHP 5.6, a short term solution may be to move to another host that still supports PHP 5.6 but ideally you should be aiming to migrate any remaining Joomla 1.5 or Joomla 2.5 websites to Joomla 3.x or some other secure platform within the next few months.

Another option for a simple Joomla 1.5 or Joomla 2.5 website with few ongoing updates is to recreate the website as a static HTML website as I have done for Graham Woodhouse Conveyancing and similar. A static HTML website can still have all the basic essential features such as a responsive template, SSL, search engine friendly URLs, Google Analytics, search engine optimisation and a contact form. Additional benefits of static HTML websites are faster performance and little or no ongoing cost (apart from the domain name and hosting renewals).

What Version of PHP is My Website Running On?

There are a few ways for you to check what version of PHP your website is running on. For example:

  • use a free online tool such as the HTTP / HTTPS Header Check at http://www.webconfs.com/http-header-check.php
  • on Joomla 1.5 websites, log in to the back-end of the website and go to Help -> System Info
  • on Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3.x websites, log in to the back-end of the website and go to Site -> System Information
  • log in to your cPanel (or similar) hosting control panel and click on "Select PHP Version" or similar

What if My Hosting Company Does Not Offer Support For PHP 7?

Your hosting company should be running at least one supported version of PHP. If not, you should ask them why not and when they propose to fix the security issue. If there is no satisfactory answer then you probably have no other option but to move to a better quality hosting company.

See https://webhostingdownunder.com.au for help in choosing a new hosting company.

Migrate My Joomla Website

Migrate from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 3.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x migration typically takes at least five hours and costs from around $450.

Contact me for a quote.

Migrate from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 3.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x migration migration typically takes at least three hours and costs from around $250.

Contact me for a quote.

Migrate from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 4.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x migration migration typically takes at least three hours and costs from around $250.

Contact me for a quote.

Move My Website to a Better Web Hosting Company

Moving a website to a new web host typically takes a couple of hours or around $176 and includes:

  • backing up the current website
  • finding the most suitable web hosting company for your particular website within your budget
  • purchasing a new web hosting plan on your behalf
  • restoring the website to the new web host
  • updating the domain name to point to the new host
  • testing
  • forwarding any orphaned emails on the old host to the new host
  • optionally moving your domain name to the new service provider

Note that you will be moving to a better web hosting company and for most of my clients this is often a cheaper web hosting company so that the cost of the move is soon recovered.

Contact me to enquire about moving web hosts.